Wednesday, July 4

My Frugal Miser - June Expenses: $4,001

June was an average month.  Half of my spending was for two irregular charges:  my annual homeowner's insurance payment and a $1,000 purchase of IHG Rewards Club Points.  IHG was doing a 100% match promotion on the purchase of points and I decided it was worth the purchase.

I spent too much on food again.  About $300 went to restaurant meals.  I also lost some money gambling while we were working in Las Vegas.

May Expenses:  $4,001

$89 Auto (all for gas)
$0 Bank Fees
$0 Clothing
$0 Computer
$941 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets) 
$501 Food
$0 Gifts Given
($100) Household/Housing/Home Repair
$942 Homeowner's Insurance (annual payment)
$28 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid a portion of 2018 health insurance)
$0 Investment Expense
$41 Interest Expense*
$0 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$3 Personal Care
$0 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$27 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$248 Unreimbursed Employee Expenses
$228 Utilities
$1,054 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  

Monday, July 2

My Frugal Miser - June Income: $11,183

June marked another great month for income.  Last month set a record thanks to a put option I exercised.  I was able to squeak out another gain this month.  My largest investment for the last few years has been in a REIT called Vereit.  It's been stuck near $7/share for some time, but in June it did fairly well.

I worked a lot in June.  There were two solid weeks of meeting work and a fair amount of Amazon deliveries.

I received rent from all my properties. 

May Income: $11,183

($15) Mystery Shopping
$2,056 Meeting Jobs
$682 Reimbursed Job Expenses
$13 Uber
$3 Lyft
$0 Postmates
$810 Amazon Deliveries
$7,411 Rental Income
$22 Interest Income
$200 Other Sources

Investment Accounts Change in Value:  $2,668

Decent month.  Vereit is starting to go up.

  • I don't include transactions in my retirement accounts.  This includes rental income, dividends and capital gains and losses.

Thursday, June 28

Moving: The Perfect Excuse to Simplify

All these gas cans... gone!
In a month we are moving to our new home.  Unlike previous moves, I'm converting my current house to an AirBnB.  It won't be necessary to move every piece of furniture to the new place:  some of it will stay put for our guests.  This has motivated me to pare down unnecessary possessions.

This week we took three oversized boxes of clothes and knick-knacks to Salvation Army.  I also posted for sale all but one of the gas cans I had.  I used to mystery shop dozens of gas stations and needed to store all the free gas I was getting.  I've moved away from that - it's not part of the big picture that will get me to financial independence.  What an exhilarating day - less than an hour after posting the 15 gas containers on Facebook Marketplace, I had a buyer.  I deposited the $100 cash into the bank.  The next day, we cleaned the utility room where these were stored - so much room now!

Getting rid of things feels great.  All these unnecessary material things require cleaning.  The clutter is a distraction.  Try looking for something when you have to move everything around to find it.

There's one area that I've been struggling with:  my rental property supplies.  Right now, a good part of a bedroom is filled with containers, everything from screws, tools, cleaning supplies, parts and more.  I barely use these things, but I do use them.  I'd like to pare down to the essentials, especially since I only use my tools when there is a vacancy.  For everyday repairs, I usually pay someone to fix things since I am an absentee landlord.  This is the next area I'd like to tackle.

Tuesday, June 5

I'm Buying a New House

This is our new house!
Three months ago I updated my plans to include increasing recurring income by $2,300/month.  The first phase of the plan is in action:  we are moving to a new home.  This week I signed a contract on a brand new home on the other side of Tampa.  The house is about 40 miles from where we live now, but it's in a high-growth area where real estate is significantly less expensive.  My preference was to stay near our current home, but the few new houses we looked at cost nearly twice as much as the house I am going to buy. 

Our new home is in a master-planned community that features fiber optic Internet and is smart-home ready.  There is a beach entry pool and cabana as well as miles of walking trails.  The lot is 50% larger than the lots we looked at in other neighborhoods.  There are no houses directly behind the one I am buying.  Instead, there is a pond with a beautiful fountain.

On the surface this would not seem to be a frugal decision, but since 2006 I have built my real estate portfolio by moving into a new house every few years.  It's the way I've been growing my net worth.  But this time, instead of finding a long-term tenant, I will try AirBnB.  From the research that I've done, I am confident we can rent our current house on AirBnb for an amount that will more than cover the mortgage on the new house.

I should close on the new house by the end of July.  In the meantime, we are preparing our house for rental.  Such an exciting time!